By a Free Lance Journalist, 14th January,2019
14th January 2019 marks 8 years exactly, since a dark cloud hovered over the
nation of Barotseland- as state troops under the instruction of the former
president of Northern Rhodesia ordered fire against unarmed innocent protesters
in Mongu in 2011.
According to many nationalists from that country, 14th January will remain a cold day- a day when nationals of Barotseland woke up to a rude shock, that a
government purporting to be theirs, riding on a manipulative One Zambia One Nation motto, would, without a wink open fire against innocent protesters, killing 19 men, women and children.
It is a day that will remind the nationals of Barotseland that indeed, the continued association with Northern Rhodesia, is similar to that of a hunter and the hunted.
This journalist spoke to a number of citizens, movements and officials of activist organisations to understand exactly what 14th January brings to their minds.
Many repeatedly said; “mwanake, 14th January ki lizazi lelusalufa silami mwa
mibili. Milili yayema, kakuli iluhupuza kuli, anytime malozi can be slaughtered just like chickens around a feast. And no one even cares to find out. Rodger Chongwe came here in 2015 to listen to our cries about Barotseland. Muiboni report?”. (my son, 14th January gives us goose pimples because it reminds us that anytime Lozis can just be killed like chickens during a feast, and no one will care.)
Others talk of the long- perpetuated mistreatment of the Barotse people by the
government they constantly call Northern Rhodesia. They claim that from the
time Bulozi made a mistake of joining hands with Northern Rhodesia in 1964, the Barotse people have suffered ridicule, discrimination, incarceration, politically motivated arrests, torture and death.
According to sources who sought anonymous for fear of reprisals from the PF
regime, on that fateful day, 19 people including a child under 10 years were killed
in cold blood at the instruction of Mr Rupiah Banda, then President of Northern Rhodesia. Following that, more than 200 persons across Barotseland were arrested and tortured. It is rumoured that in Senanga, lies a mass grave in which
several Barotse nationals were buried. More than 15 youths are still missing to-
date. And yet the Zambian state-controlled media talk of only one person having
died. Many of her people remain in Zambian prisons, including the leaders of the
Barotse Transitional Government, slapped with a 15 year jail term!
The Rodger Chongwe Commission, having been commissioned by then president Michael Sata remains hidden! The people of Barotseland are asking, where is the report? It appears, the report unearthed serious issues that the people of Barotseland have spoken, chief among them, their desire to be independent from Northern Rhodesia.
As nationals of Barotseland soldier on in their struggle for self-determination, this
day 14th January shall be remembered and honoured. They hope that with the
new spirit emerging at Namuuso, Bulozi’s independence is only a matter of time!